We decided that Memorial Day would be the best time for all of us to go. I kept trying to talk Morgan out of the trip, saying that perhaps we ought to do a shorter, 30 mile loop or so. The most that we have ever gone before was a 13-mile round trip with the kids.
I have been exercising a lot, and am in the best shape I have been for a while, but still I was nervous. But the weather said it wasn't supposed to be too bad so we decided to go for the big Kahuna.
Sunday Guy, Dan, Christina and Rachel drove up to Waterloo. Then the boys drove Morgan's truck, Guy's car and our van down to Cedar Rapids. (Technically our destination was Hiawatha, but the cities run together.)
They parked the truck and car at the bike trailhead then drove down to Iowa City to pick up Ginny who had just spoken at her Seminary Graduation. Ginny agreed to watch our kids for us while we rode the trail.
Everyone is eating breakfast and getting ready to go.
|The bikes are just waiting for us to start.|
We were very smart and took TONS of Fake-Gatorade. We loaded up a big cooler full of drinks, sandwiches and ice. We put the cooler plus tools in our trailer, which we hitched up to Morgan's bike. It was probably about 150 pounds. Very heavy. The boys were gentlemen and took turns pulling the trailer so we girls did not have to. I am really glad they did, because I would not have been able to pull the trailer very fast. It was crazy heavy.
|Melissa and Morgan are ready to go!|
What would have been 3 miles on bike trail ended up as a 6 mile detour. That would have been fine, except all 6 miles of the detour were on Gravel Roads, plus we were in a headwind. Poor Dan was pulling the heavy trailer in the loosest rock possible.
We did make sure to take a bunch of breaks to relax our sore muscles and drink plenty of fluid. That actually helped a lot. We did have two sections of the trail where trees had fallen across, but the guys got us through them. Breaking branches and making a path for us.
We stopped for lunch at a lovely park in Urbana. Nearly every city had bathrooms available for us to use. By the time we reached Urbana we had already gone 38 miles. We were feeling good. After all, we only had twenty more to go!
|The shelter in Urbana had a little bird sitting on its nest. So cute!|
The next 7 miles from Urbana to Center Point were the easiest on the trail. It felt like we traveled them in no time at all.
We only had 13 miles to go and were feeling pretty good. We did see a couple signs saying that the trail was closed for asphalting. We tried to call the Parks and Recreation number, but since it was a holiday no one was working and they didn't have any information on their answering machine about it.
We didn't really feel like we had any good choice but to keep going on the trail. We didn't want to get lost trying to find another detour, and we didn't have a map to even know where to start looking!
The road wasn't too bad. We eventually got to where new asphat was laid and it was so nice to ride on a smooth road. Other parts were still the old limestone trail, but nothing was too difficult.
The problem was that those 13 miles was one continual slow upgrade hill with very little shade and a very HOT headwind. It was a killer. The construction crew had taken out all of the mileage signs so we didn't know how far we had come or how far we had to go. I still think that stretch had to have been 20 miles not 13.
But we made it back to civilization and made it to our trailhead. It was amazing to have accomplished such a feat. Morgan even said that he wanted to do it again sometime. We didn't have any accidents, nor did we have any flat tires or problems of that sort.
Morgan added to the crazy by going to play disc gold league later that Monday night. Although he may have been the smartest one because he said the walking around the course helped keep his muscles loose. I was very stiff Monday night and Tuesday. I did a little mile walking exercise Tuesday to stretch my muscles and keep them strong. Then Tuesday night we took the kids on a bike ride to Evansdale and back, a 6 miles round trip.
I have learned a couple of things from this trip, though.
First, the type of trail you ride on makes a HUGE difference. The trails around Waterloo are the best, nice smooth black asphalt-y stuff.
2nd Gravel roads stink and should be avoided at all costs.
3rd - I can do hard things. Really hard things, and survive.
4th - Horray for water and strong guys for carrying it for us
5th - Biking Jersey's are awesome! I bought mine just for this trip and it was so light and comfortable. I am going to take it with me to Utah when I go hiking.
6th - Being fit and active is really fun. I am so glad that I have been focusing on my health more and becoming more healthy. I still have 8 pounds of weight to lose to reach the goal I made in January, but I know that it will happen. Life is good.